26 June 2014 by Jazz
After crossing the border and spending a day braving the intensity of Shenzhen, the three of us met early the next morning to fly to the city of Xi’an. Nervous about the validity of our dodgy looking airline tickets, we arrived at Shenzhen’s brand spanking new international airport and managed to board our flight without a hitch.
A few hours later we disembarked and, after checking into our hostel, spent a long afternoon trekking around Xi’an. Moses put on his tour guide hat and led us through the city streets and towards the Muslim markets. Bursting with excitement, these markets were full of stalls touting delicious barbecue skewers, bizarre-looking fruits, herbal teas, Turkish icecream and peanut brittle that observers can see being made before them.
Xi’an is an ancient citadel and our next stop was the old city wall, still erect and well-maintained. The wall, a slanted stone structure, is begging to be climbed and Moe spent a good amount of time deliberating whether or not to attempt the feat. However, after watching the ancient stones snap off beneath him in a test climb, he decided against it and I breathed a sigh of relief at not having to deal with a destroyed historical monument and a quadriplegic Moses.
Nevertheless, we resolved to take the walk around the city on top of the wall and in trying to find the way up we encountered a group of teenagers climbing over a tall metal fence from inside one of the wall’s entrances. We watched them climb over and after receiving an apparent affirmative to the mimed, â€œIs it okay for us to do that?â€, we hoisted ourselves up. The kids, amused by our antics, stopped to take our picture before they went their way and we went ours â€“ up.
By this time, our feet were aching and the bicycles zooming past us seemed like a much better idea than our on-foot method of transport. Slowly but surely we made our way around the wall, admiring the sights of the city from atop the old fortress. By the time we reached the main gate, we were exhausted and hungry and despite the still-bright skies, it was getting late. We decided to exit there and find some dinner. It wasn’t until we left that we realised the wall had a 40Â¥ entrance fee that we’d inadvertently dodged. That explained the dirty looks from the other tourists on our way in.
Walking through more winding streets, passing the Muslim markets once again, we circumvented the local mosque and some more hidden markets on the way back to town in search of food. We finally stopped by a little street stall around the corner from our hostel and listened as the young man and woman that ran the stall argued over whether it’s pronounced barbecue or beebeecue all while trying to get us to sit down and order some skewers. Order we did and spent the rest of the night gorging ourselves on edamame, beef kebabs and spicy chicken skewers.
After five straight days of walking the crowded streets of Hong Kong and China, our calves, thighs, ankles and toes were in agony and we eventually dragged ourselves back to the hostel for a much-needed rest. Our legs would have to carry us a long way the next day and at this rate we weren’t so sure they’d be up to the task…